Lecture explores failure to connect misogyny on social media with politics, the law in Palestine

Birzeit University’s Faculty of Business and Economics, jointly with its Institute of Women’s Studies, held the fourth lecture of a series that explores the status of Palestinian women, in both real life and virtual reality, on October 16, 2019. The event featured Reem Albatmah, a researcher and the director of the university’s Institute of Law.

Amal Nazzal, associate professor at the Faculty of Business and Economics, commenced the lecture by discussing how social media users and those who comment on women portray women and their bodies, especially after the killing of Israa Gharib. She analyzed three photos posted on Facebook under the Tala’at movement that aims to counter patriarchy. Nazzal showed that most commentators do not connect such social movements with to politics and portray women by alluding to negative and offensive stereotypes.

Focusing on the legal status of women in Palestine, Albatmah pointed out that Palestinian laws are discriminatory against women. “Despite the changes that feminist movements and human rights organizations have achieved, penal codes are still insufficient to protect women from honor killings and other related crimes,” she added.

Albatmah continued by explaining how legal discourse defines violence and domestic violence. According to Albatmah, laws take a non-involved stance when dealing with violence against women.